NB: This article is an updated, expanded and improved version of thearticle by the same author that appeared in the Autumn 2015 issue of this journal titled ‘Looking at Conflict Patterns: Declining Frequencies yet Persistent Brutalities in both Ethnic and Non- Ethnic Conflicts’ (Vol 3. No.2, pp.9-23), partially in response to the two Critical Responses i.e. open peer-reviews in the same issue (Ibid, pp.24-25).
What brutalises rebels? What makes them cruel, or makes them do things that we consider cruel and immoral? That is a primary question of my research on rebels and rebellion, i.e. the “violent opposition to the ruler, government regime[,] or state for any personal, collective or ideological purpose” (Ten Dam 2015a: 6 (quote),15). Arguably, rebels or insurgents are the most important and dominant kind of armed non-state actors. After all, without rebels, no rebellions. The question of brutalisation—which can be put to all kinds of armed actors—is of prime importance to the field of conflict studies in general and to the “emerging multidisciplinary field” of ethnogeopolitics (Rezvani 2013a: 4) in particular.